LOS ANGELES – The Latest on forest fires of California (all times are local):
Fire officials hope to lift some evacuations in Southern California’s huge wildfire, but warn that the predicted Santa Ana winds could once again mean a risk for the communities.
The blaze northwest of Los Angeles is about a third contained, and the authorities say that the risk for the inland agricultural town of Fillmore decreases. But the coastal enclaves to the west remain under threat Thursday, crews protect hillside homes in Montecito and Carpinteria.
The National Weather Service says extreme fire danger conditions could last through the weekend due to lack of moisture along with an expected increase in the wind speed.
Since the fire broke out Dec. 4, it has burned more than 372 square miles (965 square miles) and destroyed 921 buildings — including at least 700 homes.
Fire lines are established around nearly a third of one of the largest fires in the history of California, but the danger remains.
The coastal areas in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties warned Wednesday that they are still at risk as the unpredictable winds whip up and fan the flames.
The National Weather Service extended warnings up to and including Friday of extreme fire danger conditions throughout much of Southern California due to lack of moisture, together with a possible increase in wind gust speeds at the end of the week.
To the south in San Diego County, firefighters are very close to a large forest fire. That blaze killed 46 race horses at a training center, and left one of their trainers with serious burns.